CHARLIE NICHOLAS has named Celtic’s priority target in the summer – Ange Postecoglou.

The former Hoops goalscoring hero has urged the Parkhead powerbrokers to tie down the manager on a long-term contract after his phenomenal first season in Scotland.

Postecoglou’s new-look side require just one point to make absolutely certain of the title when they take on Dundee United at Tannadice tomorrow night before the curtain comes down on Saturday when Motherwell provide the opposition in Glasgow.

PARADISE…Ange Postecoglou salutes the Celtic fans after Celtic’s 4-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead at the weekend.

It has been a sensational turnaround in the club’s fortunes and the Greek-Australian gaffer has produced football’s equivalent of a magic wand to produce a squad that is six points ahead and 20 goals better off than their nearest challengers after limping in 25 points adrift during a wretched campaign last time around.

Postecoglou, 56, left J-League outfit Yokohama F Marinos in June to accept the Hoops challenge after John Kennedy had taken over in an interim capacity for the final 10 games following Neil Lennon’s departure in February.

Nicholas has now called upon major shareholder Dermot Desmond to offer the charismatic boss a lucrative long-term deal.

The former Scotland international forward, who had two stints at his boyhood favourites, said: “Never mind potential summer transfer targets, Celtic’s number one priority over the coming weeks should be rewarding Ange Postecoglou with a new contract.

GLASGOW BELONGS TO ME…a beaming Ange Postecoglou shares the joy.

“The Australian joined last June on a 12-month rolling deal, but the club would be absolutely crazy if talks haven’t already started or been scheduled with their manager.

“Given what he has achieved in his first season in Scottish football – the league title all but sewn up to go with the Premier Sports Cup trophy bagged in December – Postecoglou merits a long-term arrangement.”

Nicholas, speaking to the Daily Express, continued: “Parkhead chiefs need to get him tied up because he is at the heart of everything good that Celtic are doing and have done.

“Postecoglou’s reputation is growing.There is no doubt other big clubs will be looking at him, so Dermot Desmond’s top priority at the club should be rewarding his manager.

THAT’S MY BHOYS…a jubilant Ange Postecoglou is flanked by two-goal Kyogo Furuhashi and captain Callum McGregor after Celtic’s Premier Sports League Cup triumph over Hibs six days before Christmas.

“The Parkhead supremo kept topping up Brendan Rodgers’ contract when he was manager and eventually got £8.8million in compensation when Leicester snagged him and his backroom staff in 2019.

“I don’t think Postecoglou will be pushing for a pay rise, but it would be thoroughly deserved for the remarkable job he has done so far.

“Not only will Celts make tens of millions from Champions League group stage football next season, he has also built a squad of genuine value.

“It’s also worth remembering he has done it while working with the coaching team that was already in place – John Kennedy, Stephen McManus and Gavin Strachan.

ANGE’S ARMY…Postecoglou, assistant boss John Kennedy and Co take a bow after the Hampden success.

“Postecoglou just got on with the task in hand and as long as people do their jobs well then the Aussie has shown he will be loyal to them.

“He has already won top-flight titles in Australia and Japan – and Scotland will be next if Celtic take a point from Dundee United at Tannadice tomorrow.”

Nicholas, 60, who also had spells at Arsenal, Aberdeen and Clyde, added: “Given how dominant Rangers were last season, I doubt many Hoops supporters would have predicted their team would be on the verge of a double when Postecoglou walked in the door.

“I have to hold my hands up and admit I was unsure. I think Postecoglou was unsure as well.

THE SPECIAL ONE…Ange Postecoglou acknowledges the backing of the Celtic support.

“It felt like he had to hit the ground running, but his first three matches saw Celtic go out of the Champions League at the first qualifying hurdle and lose to Hearts at Tynecastle in their Premiership opener.

“Postecoglou hasn’t really made a poor signing and handing Callum McGregor the captain’s armband was bang-on.

“I loved Postecoglou from his first interview. When Celtic did a lap of honour last weekend, he was about 20 yards behind the players on his own, applauding the Celtic support and his team. His humility is wonderfully refreshing.

“I have loved every minute of his reign and I think things are going to get even better.”

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